LINGUIST List 5.1119

Thu 13 Oct 1994

Sum: "Go+verb"-updated

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  1. , Summary Go+verb (update)

Message 1: Summary Go+verb (update)

Date: Thu, 13 Oct 94 14:54:46 +0Summary Go+verb (update)
From: <>
Subject: Summary Go+verb (update)

The posting of the 'summary' on GO+Verb constructions two weeks ago
triggered a series of reactions - outnumbering those to my original query
in August- so an update might be in order. Unfortunately, I don't have the
time right now to synthesize (sorry - beginning of new term). Below
follows a compilation of those reactions which I received over the past
couple of days and which I think are relevant to a wider audience (but
excluding those which have already been sent directly to LINGUIST). A
collective 'Thank you very much' to all contributors.

 From: <>

 Even nouns can be used in this "go ____ ing" construction, in which
 case the nouns seem to adopt some verbal meanings. A slogan repeatedly
 appeared in commercials for the local Kroger's grocery store in
 Columbus Ohio is "Go krogering!" An Ohioan soldier stationed in Saudi
 Arabia before Desert Storm wrote in his letter that he and his
 comrades were anxious about the moment to "go Kuwaitiing."

 I think these are based on expressions like "go swmming" or "go
 jogging." I agree that they have a connotation of expeditionary or
 engagement in some nontransitive activity.



 From: "Alice A. Harman" <>

 I'm not a linguist, but an "interested party," and I just wanted
to add a couple of comments. In my dialect (NW coast, US) I also use "up
and" and "go and" to express deliberateness, especially when I attach a
negative opinion to the action.
 Regarding go+drinking and go+eating -- it occurs to me that
drinking is a kind of "sport", much like swimming, while "eating" isn't.
Thus, I'll take my daughter drinking. I'll take my daughter swimming.
But *I'll take my daughter eating.

 From: Jonathan David Bobaljik <jdbobaljMIT.EDU>

I missed your original positng, sorry.
Your three respondents seem to have overlooked a reference
which shouldn't be considered obscure by any stretch

Jaeggli O & N Hyams:
On the Independence and Interdependence of Syntactic and Morphological
Properties: English Aspectual COME and GO.
In. NLLT 11.2 1993, pp 313-346.

They also note in their references discussions of these and related
constructions embedded in other work not specific to that issue.

 From: David Powers <>

Raphael Salkie writes
> ps. I mention the "take NP drinking" construction in the list at
the top here
> because it seems to have the same restriction as "go drinking" and "have a
> drink" - namely, substituting eat for drink is bad in all three. The
> transitivity restriction is also the same: I took my daughter hunting
for bear
> but not *I took my daughter hunting bear.

Seems to me -ing functions as a locative in both - a good double test.

I would dispute that visiting is any different from hunting.
Such a locative construction can take a modifier which resembles
a noun phrase (or an adjectival) but may not be. Its relationship
to the verb is very variable, although mostly direct object suits.

There seems to be both a purposive vs parenthetical restriction as well
as an NP complexity/entrenchment restriction. Using "for" changes the
sense of "hunting" for me, incidentally. Compare

I went/took my daughter to the park
 bear hunting
 kangaroo and emu hunting
 green-eyed blue-tailed bunyip hunting
 strawberry picking
 blackberry and strawberry picking
 horse riding
 door knocking
 door to door canvassing
 rock climbing
 hang gliding
 outdoor camping
 hot air ballooning
 bush walking
 prac(tise) teaching
 whale spotting
 scuba diving
 undersea exploring
 hospital visiting

 hunting bear *
 hunting bears ??
 hunting kangaroo and emu ?
 hunting kangaroos and emus ?
 hunting green-eyed blue-tailed bunyips ?
 hunting the murderer of the two triplets ?
 hunting the person who'd killed the two children ?
 visiting friends and relatives ?
 visiting friends and relatives in Sydney ?


We went (home) eating, drinking, laughing and chewing gum.
We went eating, drinking and laughing back to the house. ?
We went eating, drinking, laughing and chewing gum back to the house. *

(N.B. in some of the first set the (noun) modifier is sufficiently
entrenched that it is written together or hyphenated, although in
no case is there a corresponding composite verb. To the extent
that you can you can "hot air balloon over Ayers Rock" or "scuba dive
on the Great Barrier Reef". If it can be used transitively then clearly
the apparent NP is not an object, "I prac-taught three classes this year")


>From Clare Gallaway
University of Manchester

The use of

What did you go and do that for?

(implying ?intentionality - ?doing something undesirable or
unexpected) is also heard in UK - I don't know if it is limited to my
native dialect (Norfolk/East Anglian) or whether it's a widespread
colloquial usage.


>From: Manuel Perez Saldanya <>

I am working on the go-past constructions that
exists in different Romance languages (Catalan,
some dialects of Occitan, medieval French). In
Catalan, for instance:

Joan va escriure ahir una carta (Catalan)
John goes write yestarday a letter
'John wrote a letter yesterday'

I believe that this constructions had a narrative
function in medieval Catalan, a narrative function
that could be
considered a "space to sequencing" metaphor: the
meaning of accomplished motion from a source to a
goal that characterizes the use of "go" both in
past and in historic present (that we find in
medieval examples) is reinterpreted in a
narrative discourse as an emphatic marker of
sequencing. If this is true, the Catalan "go-past"
should have gone through the following evolution
(diachronic path): accomplished motion > narrative
marker of sequencing > past marker.

I have an article about these subjects written in
Spanish. If you are interested, I colud send you a


Alex Housen Germanic Languages Dept.
University of Brussels (VUB) Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Tel:+32-2-6292664; Fax:+32-2-6292480;
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